I like beef jerky as much as the next person. Who doesn’t love the smoky, chewy goodness that is dried, processed beef treats? That said, the safety of passengers suspended thousands of feet in the air is really more important. I’m surprised this is not a universal sentiment.

When Dr. Coburn, Oklahoma senator, proposed an amendment last week to end non-defense spending at the Defense Department including a $1.5 million program for a beef jerky initiative, 56 senators, including Colorado’s own, voted against it.  Meanwhile, the President is saying the FAA must cut air traffic controllers.

Sequestration, the 2% cut in this year’s increase in government funding, has prompted debate over budget priorities. The Left suggests curtailing vaccinations, education for poor children, air traffic safety controllers, and White House Tours (not to be confused with White House golf tours which are still on).  The Right, meanwhile, is proposing trimming government bureaucracy and waste.

One of Dr. Coburn’s other amendments which consolidates 15 financial literacy programs, 160 housing assistance programs, 15 unmanned aircraft programs, 253 DOJ grant programs, 209 STEM programs, 8 economic development programs, 53 entrepreneurial support programs, 17 FEMA programs, 94 green building programs, 14 diesel emissions programs, 50 early learning and child care programs, 18 domestic food assistance programs, 80 federal teacher quality programs, 18 defense language and cultural training programs, and 21 nuclear nonproliferation programs, passed despite the opposition of 37 Democrats. Bureaucracy has its fans.

Other amendments to end special interest tax breaks for the PGA tour, the NFL, NASCAR, and Hollywood, eliminate subsidies for free cell phones and junk food, and reform costly, bloated government programs never got a vote.  

Dr. Coburn is headed in the right direction but there are countless other programs ripe for the picking. How about eliminating the millions spent on sugar subsidies? Not a bad idea in the land of obesity. How about zeroing out the $300 million in funding for free birth control? Why are we subsidizing people’s condoms and candy? We’re driving the nation deeper in debt for what? Beef jerky, sex and NASCAR? That sounds like a reality TV show not real life budget line items. The American people deserve better.